02 03 Notes from the School Psychologist: Call the Fire Marshall, I Need a Nap 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Call the Fire Marshall, I Need a Nap

In the spirt of last year's post Back to Work in the Public School, By the Numbers, I shall give an update one year later. And because I love data, I have calculated the percentage change over time. Nerd alert.

Number of Icebreakers: 0
This number is down 7000%. How did I do it? How did the ice get broken without me this year? How did I get away with no trust falls or snap cups? I'll tell you. I got married and changed my email and I missed the emails about the retreat. I would not recommend this strategy to others. I secretly missed the snap cup. And I just don't know if I can trust anyone on my school site to catch me if I fall off the auditorium stage wearing inappropriately high heeled shoes, like I did last year. (Yeah, no post-link to that, I was too embarrassed to write a post because I had just warned the 8th grade girls about high heeled shoe dangers.)

Number of Schools Assigned to Me: 2
Down 33%! TWO? Seriously? How is this possible? Most school psychologists have 3-5 schools. I cannot tell you my secret, or I fear I will get another school assigned to me.

Ratio of School Psychologist (Me!) to Students: 1:700
Less schools, more students. Go figure.

Number of Dead Rodents/Swarms* of Ants Discovered in Office: 0
100% decline. Hallelujah!

Number of Crying Children Consoled: 5**
This ratio is up because we have two new Kindergarten classes this year at one of my schools. It is a Spanish immersion program so there is NO ENGLISH at all in the classes. I want to spend every day in there to practice my Spanish, which is intermediate at best. I have imagined the following conversation between me and my principal:

P: We need to talk about how much time you're spending in the Kindergarten class
Me: But I'm learning so much! Today, we read a story about a frog and I learned how to say "jump!"
P: *Sigh* Yes, but I'm getting complaints that you are raising your hand in class and blurting out answers to the teacher's questions for the children.
Me: I just want to LEARN!!!

Perhaps I should enroll in some sort of class. But the Kindergarten pace is so perfect for me. I felt for the little ones who didn't speak any English. They kept saying to me, "Why are you talking in Spanish? I don't understand! I KNOW you speak English!" What gave it away? My Lithuanian-Irish tan?

Number of Quotes that Made Me Wish I Was a Kindergarten Teacher: 8539573489

This group of girls was sitting at a table drawing and I asked on of the girls, "Hablas Espanol?" She said, "I speak poquito Espanol" and her little friend got so excited and said, "Me too! I speak mosquito Espanol too!"

This one little guy was clearly exhausted at the end of the day, with all the lining up, following new rules, and all that drawing and singing and playing, and he said to me (In the forbidden English): "Dang. I wish the fire marshall would come and tell us there's too many kids up in this school so I could go home and take a NAP." Amen, brother. Kindergarten is exhausting, especially when you're trying to figure out what everyone is saying all day. But for the first time in a long time, I came home energized, not totally wiped out. Why? Because spending time in Kindergarten evokes all my fantasies of primary prevention of school failure.

(whips out soap box)

So much of our profession is build around the "wait to fail" model of service delivery, in which we must label children as "disabled" in order for them to receive special services. Not all kids who have learning problems have learning disabilities. But when special education is the only intervention, we school psychologists get to be the evil gatekeeper of what is perceived as the only way to help a kid learn to read.

(steps down).

Whoa. Where was I? Ah yes, cute attack. There was this one little girls who spent the first 45 minutes of class crying, and periodically weeped throughout the day, when she realized she was STILL THERE. She said not one word all day (and she spoke Spanish, so it wasn't that). At the end of the turned to me as she was leaving and looked up at me with her big brown doe eyes, hugged my leg, and said, "Hasta Manana."

To take a phrase from Mrs. Mimi, I DIE.

*Or is "swarm" only for bees? Nest of ants? Family? Pod? Hm. Either way, yea for sanitation!
**My new friend, Michaele has posted a faboo list for parents and teachers about How to help kids transition to Kindergarten

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